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Scottish Fire and Rescue Service seeks support for a safe Bonfire Night period

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The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is highlighting the risks to communities from deliberate fire setting and attacks on crews as it enters its busiest period of the year.

Firefighters attended more than 1350 deliberate fires during the four-week period leading to Bonfire Night 2020, placing unnecessary pressure on the Service and potentially impacting crews’ ability to respond to genuine emergencies. 

The Service wants to highlight the issue and is asking the public to support its #BangOutOfOrder campaign to raise awareness of the impact these incidents cause. 

Deputy Assistant Chief Officer (DACO) Alasdair Perry is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Prevention and Protection. With just under three weeks to go until Bonfire Night he said: “We have a zero-tolerance approach to deliberate fire setting and anti-social behaviour involving the misuse of fireworks and other projectiles. To say these incidents are ‘bang out of order’ is an understatement.

 "A deliberate fire can put property, resources and indeed lives at risk.  We are working positively with young people and our partners to raise awareness of the very real dangers and consequences of such actions.”

DACO Perry explained what people can do to keep themselves safe. He said: “The build-up of rubbish and waste, particularly bulky items such as large amounts of cardboard or furniture, represents a real fire risk.

"By taking some simple measures you can help protect you, your family, your property and those around you from the potentially devastating consequences of a fire.

“If you can, store your waste in a safe, locked location such as a garage or shed. If you must store it outdoors – keep it away from the property if possible.

“If you are keeping anything inside, store it away from heat sources and open flames, or electrical outlets and equipment."

Attacks on firefighters and other emergency services and public-sector staff have also been highlighted. 

DACO Perry said: “Last year on Bonfire Night our crews experienced twelve attacks. On any night of the year an attack on crews responding to incidents is unacceptable, but to have twelve on our busiest night of the year puts everyone in danger.

"We know it's a very small minority of people who engage in anti-social behaviour, but there's no question it can also impact on our firefighters, Operations Control colleagues and our partners too.

“If an appliance is damaged it may not be available for other emergencies. Our emergency service partners are diverted from other emergencies to escort us to deal with incidents, if crews need treatment and to investigate the attacks.

“It’s time to bring an end to this type of anti-social behaviour and make sure firefighters – and our emergency service partners - can do their job and keep the communities they serve safe.”

The Service has been working with a range of partners including Police Scotland and schools to ensure young people understand the risks of taking part in anti-social behaviour.

Anyone with information about any deliberate fire setting or attacks on emergency services staff can call Police Scotland on 101, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or report online to Fearless at www.fearless.org.   

Find more information on how to stay safe this Bonfire Night.

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